File photo:Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been instructed to help rescue and evacuate those affected by heavy rains in and around Port S Johns in the Eastern Cape province, the department of defence and military veterans said on Tuesday. 

On Monday, people living in low lying areas in Port St Johns were evacuated after the rains. No drownings were reported, but the flooding is likely to worsen with more rain anticipated over the next three days and disaster management crews are on site and coordinating efforts, with food, blankets and mattresses among the most needed items.

The department said the SANDF rescue team would work with other disaster teams to help those affected.

"The people will be moved to higher ground and be placed in safe areas and shelters as identified by the disaster management team set up to deal with the challenge," it said.

Meanwhile, five people had been confirmed dead by early Tuesday morning after a storm that lashed the Durban area in KwaZulu-Natal province overnight.

Paramedics were kept busy in the early hours of Tuesday as reports of collapsed houses were received from Malvern, Overport and Chatsworth.

On Ellen Road in Malvern, four people, including a child, died when a muddy bank collapsed onto their home. Paramedics were at the scene for hours, hampered by heavy winds and rain.

The South African Weather Services issued a weather warning for the eThekwini area on Monday and by the evening, disaster management teams had been activated.

Several roads in the south of the city were flooded or blocked by early Tuesday morning as the Umhlatuzana river burst its banks and flooded a bridge.

 African News Agency (ANA)